Capital Cup of Coffee

Sunday afternoon, the 13-year-old girls  watch a movie in Montpelier while I walk down the street to Capital Grounds. For two hours, my world is writing and a woman who sits beside me and eats a bowl of chili meditatively and the reflection in the storefront windows across the street of a flock of pigeons swooping in flight. I never actually see the pigeons — only their darting reflection.

At a table behind me, three men laugh. When they came in, one man had a walker, and I turned and asked if they needed me to move. He said no, and that the nice thing about this coffee shop is how everyone is on top of each other all the time, anyway. I remember visiting a different version of Capital Grounds years ago, in a winter when I was at home with a three-year-old. I caught myself reading a man’s newspaper over his shoulder.

When I leave, the November sunlight is thin, but it’s there. I take the long way back to the theater. Far overhead, the capital’s gold dome beams.

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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